All Saints Dramatic Society Corpus Christi Parish Centre, Boscombe Rachel Leggett 7 January 2023
Dick Whittington tells the story of a poor young man who travels to London to seek his fortune with his trusty cat Tom. Along the way he runs into some trouble when he is accused of stealing from the Alderman. In order to win the hand of the Alderman’s daughter, sweet Alice, he must somehow prove his innocence. Will he succeed or will Queen Rat and her Rattlings ruin everything?
I had never seen a pantomime by this company before so I was keen to see what they would pull out of the bag. This version of the story, written and directed by Phil Vivian with musical direction by Alastair Hume, was what I can only describe as the traditional family friendly village pantomime.
First to appear was Fairy Bow Bells played by Victoria Leicht, perfectly cast as the typical ditsy fairy.
Dick Whittington played by Renée Claude and Rebecca Hyde as Tom the cat were a perfect pairing; Rebecca’s interpretation as the cat was magical to watch with fantastic facial expression and movement.
Lauren Excell’s portrayal as Alice Fitzwarren was tender and she had a charming singing voice. Lucy Deerlove, who played Idle Jack, really got into character and she got funnier as the show went on.
A part that is always challenging for a man in any pantomime is the Dame as it requires good comedy timing, the ability to walk in heels and feel comfortable wearing a dress! John Cockeram as Sarah the cook didn’t disappoint, with fantastic costumes and wigs, he really did rise to the challenge, in some parts my 13 year old daughter and I were crying with laughter!
Maria Hood as Queen Rat was perfect casting with exactly the right amount of evil and with her army of Rattlings, she really stood out on stage.
Special mentions must go to Richard Carnell as the Alderman and Jenni French as Mate Muddles; although smaller roles, these two made the most of every second they were on stage, an absolute pleasure to watch.
Not forgetting every member of the ensemble who all stood out, whether in small roles or just having a great time on the stage.
With colourful scenery, eye catching costumes and a brilliant band, this really is a fun show. My only criticism would be the sound was sometimes too loud and some of the mics were not on at the correct times.
There are further performances of Dick Whittington on 8th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of January at Corpus Christi Parish Centre, Boscombe.
If you want a fun, family panto with something for everyone then I recommend this one.